Centennial Plaque Unveiled

A plaque commemorating the centennial of the city's incorporation was unveiled during the December 17 City Council meeting. Left to right: Councilmember Dennis McCord, Mayor Pro Tem Dominic Farinha, Mayor Deborah Novelli, Councilmembers Joshua Naranjo and Cynthia Homen.

The city celebrated its incorporation, the Center Building was revamped, much work was done on local roadways, local law enforcement made headway against crime, local awareness of a dangerous rodent infestation was raised, the remaining Diablo Grande golf course closed, a proposed private reservoir stirred public interest, and much work has been done to help those who are unhoused in our community.

Centennial of the city’s incorporation

The city was incorporated on Dec. 22, 1919. In commemoration, “Patterson Through the Years,” a musical featuring a song chosen from every decade of the last 100 years, was presented in November. The theme of this year’s Christmas Electric Light Parade, “Christmas Through the Years,” also celebrated the centennial, as did a plaque, soon to be installed at City Hall.

Center Building restoration

The Center Building, which houses the museum, underwent major renovation in 2019. The arbor foundations and ramps were replaced with ADA accessible ones, work was done on the foundation, exterior cracks were repaired, portions of the interior and the entire exterior were repainted and the arbor was replaced.

The project got underway in the summer, and the project was completed in time to serve as the home base for the Candy Cane Hunt during the Christmas Parade.

The project cost about $230,000, half of which came from a grant from the California Cultural and Historical Endowment’s (CCHE) Museum Grant Program. The city put in the other half.

Roadwork

Funds from both Measure L, the one-half cent sales tax, and SB1, a gas tax on gas and diesel fuel that also includes increases on vehicle license fees, have allowed the city to complete repair work on local streets and roads. With the Measure L funds received to date, the city has undertaken two major maintenance and repair efforts:

The Miscellaneous Sidewalk and Parks Concrete Project, which included replacing broken sidewalks, picnic and play areas in the parks; the basketball court in Sungiant Park and making picnic tables ADA compliant for wheelchair access.

Sperry Avenue Improvements: road repair and reconstruction on about a half-mile along Sperry Avenue between Baldwin Road and American Eagle Avenue.

Ninth Street Realignment Project

The Ninth Street Realignment Project, funded by a grant rather than tax dollars, aligned North Ninth Street with Heartland Ranch Avenue, making the intersection much safer.

The project also included pedestrian crosswalks, and 2,179 linear feet of new five-foot-wide monolithic sidewalk on the west side of Ninth Street between Ward and Las Palmas avenues.

The work included the construction of new pavement, curb, gutter, sidewalk, and accessible curb ramps along a new Ninth Street alignment near Ward Avenue and reconstruction of the Ward and Ninth Street intersection. Also included were construction of new sidewalk along the west side of Ninth Street from Ward Avenue to Las Palmas Avenue, relocation of existing fences and mailboxes, construction of a drip irrigation system, placing new decomposed granite surfacing, and installation of new streetlights.

Crime

2019 was a busy year for local law enforcement. Following are some high-profile cases from the year.

Alvarez, Flavio, in custody on multiple charges related to the stalking of at least two women, was found mentally incompetent to stand trial. A commitment hearing is scheduled for February 19. Alvarez is being held at the Stanislaus County Jail.

Bellmer, Matthew, charged in connection with a series of warehouse thefts. Bellmer is no longer listed as being in custody, and no cases are show on the court calendar for him.

Benaducci, Carlo, charged in connection with a series of warehouse thefts. Benaducci is no longer listed as being in custody. The court calendar shows his case transferred to another court in November.

Bettencourt, Robert Allen, charged in connection with a series of warehouse thefts; suspected to be the ringleader. A bench warrant has been issued for Bettencourt’s arrest.

Craig, Melvin, arrested on human trafficking-related charges. Craig is due back in court on January 27 for a Pretrial hearing.

Garcia, Jorge Alberto, sexual assault, no longer in custody. A stay-away order was issued for the victim. Garcia is scheduled to be in Merced Superior Court for an arraignment hearing on January 7.

Homen, Cynthia, current City Council member, was arrested on June 20 on a charge of accessory after the fact in connection with a felony hit and run case on May 30. Homen is due in court for a Law and Motion hearing on January 7.

Earnest Jones, arrested on human trafficking-related charges. Jones is not listed as being in custody in the Stanislaus County Jail, and no hearings are shown on the court calendar for him.

Raymon Jones, arrested on human trafficking-related charges. Jones is not listed as being in custody in the Stanislaus County Jail, and no hearings are shown on the court calendar for him.

Kean, Michael James, charged in connection with a series of warehouse thefts. Scheduled for a Pretrial hearing on January 21.

Lemas, Abel, charged with felony hit and run in the case involving Homen. Lemas is due back in court for a Law and Motion hearing on January 7.

Lynn, Arcardio Lee, arrested for allegedly luring a Patterson 13-year-old into a sexual relationship and grooming the child for sex trafficking, remains in custody. Lynn is due back in court on January 23 for a Preliminary Examination hearing.

Pfister, Wesley, arrested on charges of possession of child pornography, sending harmful matter to a minor with intent to arouse, contacting a minor with intent to commit a sexual offense and felon in possession of firearm with enhancement. Pfister is no longer shown as being in custody at the Stanislaus County jail. Pretrial hearing scheduled for January 10.

Stewart, William, arrested February 22 after allegedly attempting to arrange a sexual encounter with a minor. Stewart is no longer listed as being in custody, and no details on his case are listed on the El Dorado County Superior Court website.

Washburn, Jon, charged with arson in connection with a fire on Ash Avenue on July 2. Washburn is due back in court for a Pretrial hearing on February 11.

Witt, Damon, charged with possession of child pornography in April, pled no contest. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for January 13.

Reservoir

A proposed plan to build a private reservoir on private property in Del Puerto Canyon has sparked controversy – so much so that the project’s proponents have offered to purchase adjacent property for some type of recreational use. Another public comment meeting will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 15, from 4 to 6 pm at the Hammon Senior Center.

Remaining Diablo Grande course closed

“The Ranch,” the remaining golf course in Diablo Grande, closed in October. The Legends course was closed in 2014. No tentative reopening date has been given for either of the courses.

Nutria threat

Representative Josh Harder put his political muscle behind the fight against nutria, an invasive rodent from South America that poses an environmental, agricultural and economic threat. The rodents, which are native to South America, live along waterways, and consume the roots of just about any kind of aquatic plant, destroying habitat for fish, birds and other aquatic life. A single female can be responsible for up to 200 offspring a year. They can breed at four months, have six to 13 in a litter and can breed again within two days of giving birth. Nutria weigh up to 20 pounds, and typically live three to four years. They consume up to 20 percent of their body weight in plant matter every day.

Addressing homelessness

Patterson has earned a reputation for putting serious effort into helping those who are, for one reason or another, homeless in our community.

The success of the ReStart Program at H.O.S.T. House has continued into 2019. The combined efforts of city officials and Laura Elkinton of H.O.S.T. House and Dr. Geni Boyer of Cambridge Academies have brought both respect and, more critically, funding, to the work. Stanislaus County has pledged $50,000 for a commercial facility in H.O.S.T. House, and the remaining funds needed for construction have been donated.

Most recently, a groundbreaking ceremony was held for Naomi’s House, the much-anticipated women’s shelter. Stanislaus County has pledged $350,000 for the construction. The facility, which will be built using metal shipping containers, will have a capacity of 25, and there are 25 women, currently living in unsafe situations, eagerly awaiting its opening.

The facility will also be used for teaching various classes, including a cooking class taught by a chef, and a class in keeping a job, for those who are interested in, and need, such instruction.

Construction on Naomi’s House is expected to begin sometime in the new year.

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